Ireland’s Fur Trade

Most people are unaware of the fact that Ireland has a secret fur trade – there are currently 3 mink farms in the country, where annually a total of around 200,000 mink are killed. Fur farming was almost banned when the Green Party introduced a phase-out ban in 2009, but before it was completed in 2012, the government collapsed and subsequently the bill was scrapped by Fine Gael. Sadly, this means that this horrendous cruelty will continue to exist until we can successfully get a full ban introduced into legislation, most likely when there is yet a new government in place.

NARA are the only animal rights group in Ireland that actually travels around the country to protest outside the fur farms here. Their anti-fur campaign is one of the most successful campaigns to date – with dozens of shops removing fur from their shelves as quickly as 24hrs after a campaign is launched. Another tactic NARA are trying to use is a ban on the importation and sale of real fur in Ireland. A number of councils around the country, including Dublin City Council, have already pledged their support of this, by passing council bans on real fur. Unfortunately these bans do not apply to individual shops in their jurisdictions, but it is still a great step toward the total elimination of the fur industry here.

Fur Farm in Ireland
Fur farm in Ireland


What species are used by the fur industry:

The animals murdered by the fur trade worldwide every year include mink, fox, rabbit, chinchilla, raccoon, coyote, sable and wolf. Even cats and dogs are used – many of whom are skinned alive.


Conditions, and how they are killed:

Mink are kept in filthy cages, with a floor space equivalent of just 2 shoe boxes in size. They have no access to water, even though they are semi-aquatic animals. Their diet consists of liquidised fish organs, which they are forced to consume by licking it through the top of their cages. They are also forced to live with, and beside, other mink, despite being solitary creatures by nature. This, coupled with the stress of confinement, results in stereotypical psychosis – repetitive behaviour, self-harm, and cannibalism. At 6 months of age, they are gassed to death, usually by carbon monoxide. 40 mink are put into the ‘killing box’ at a time, which often leads to them being unconscious, not dead, when they are skinned.

Foxes are kept in cages just 1 metre square (2 fox per cage). They are killed by electrocution – utilising a 12 volt car battery with a transformer of 200 volts. Electrodes are clamped to their mouth while rods are inserted into their rectum and an extremely painful death ensues.

Despite what the fur industry claims, rabbit fur is NOT a by-product of the meat industry. Millions of rabbits are bred specifically for their fur each year and they are killed by either having their necks broken or their throats slit. For wild animals, leg-hold traps are used. The traps work by clamping the animals’ leg, biting deep into the flesh. The victims wait a long time, growing weaker through pain and attempts to escape, before the trapper returns to kill them by clubbing or suffocation.

Mink in Cage in Irish Fur Farm
Mink in cage in Irish fur farm


A brief history of our campaign:

  • In 2009, for the first time in the history of Irish anti-fur campaigning, we organised a ‘Fur Farm Exposé Tour’, in which we traveled to every fur-farming county to leaflet the towns and protest outside the actual farms. This was a very effective tool in highlighting the issue, resulting in a lot of newspaper and radio coverage.
  • Produced a campaign video on the issue, thanks to anonymously received footage exposing Irish fur farms, which can be viewed here.
  • Sent out 109 fur farm exposé packs to to various TD’s, Ministers, SPCA’s, radio stations and newspapers. This resulted in a number of Irish politicians getting onboard with the campaign, and an investigation on the fur farms being launched.
  • Leafleted and petitioned outside the Dept. of Agriculture every week for 3 years, until a phase-ban on fur farming was confirmed by the Irish government on Sat. 10th October 2009 (*Sadly in 2012, the government collapsed and was replaced by a new party that scrapped the phase-out ban, so fur farming is still legal. Our campaigning efforts continue, and we will not stop until we achieve a ban).
  • In July 2010, a new campaign was started to ban the import and sale of real fur in Ireland.
  • Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council and South Dublin County Council have already adopted the ban. Due to current trading laws, these bans will not affect individual shops – but once we get the majority of Irish councils behind us, we will lobby for a change in legislation.


Fur-free successes include:

Clery & Co. Department Store
Fran & Jane boutiques nationwide
Regine Fashions Ireland (designer company) and all of their franchises
GUESS (Dublin franchise)
Brown Thomas & BT2 Stores nationwide
FanciSchmancy Vintage
Flairline Fashions nationwide
The Real McCoy
Wild Child
The Hat Shop
Sugar Babe


Councils that have adopted a ban on the import and sale of real fur in their jurisdiction:

Dublin City Council
Fingal County Council
Tralee Town Council
South Dublin County Council


How you can help:

  • Let NARA know of any shop you find to be selling real fur.
  • Write to Minister Simon Coveney, at the Dept. of Agriculture, demanding that fur farming be banned at once. Minister Coveney is in charge of licencing the fur farms. The more opposition he receives, the greater the chance we will shut this industry down once and for all.
  • Join our protests – we’re out twice a week, every week. Subscribe to our mailing list here


About Laura Broxson 1 Article
Laura Broxson, 26 and living in Dublin, is the founder of the National Animal Rights Association (NARA) - a voluntary, vegan, grassroots level animal rights group based in Dublin. A vegan since the age of 13, and active campaigner since 14, Laura has spearheaded many prominent animal rights campaigns in Ireland, as well as engaging in regular live radio and TV debates. Most recently, NARA gained international attention for the 'open rescue' of 9 live lobsters from a restaurant in the City Centre.
Contact: Twitter

2 Comments on Ireland’s Fur Trade

  1. A thought-provoking (if dispiriting) article. I just noticed a typo in one of the sentences in the second paragraph: “….after a campaign IN launched.” where it should be “after a campaign IS launched.” It certainly would be interesting to see an update from the author on the current situation of fur farming in Ireland in 2016.

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